Blogs from Algarve, Portugal, Europe


Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Sao Vicente September 26th 2015

The sun came up early and we left the Orbitur camp early making our way to the Algarve. Our overnight stop would be Lagos but we planned to stop first at the Portuguese version of our own Lands End . This was going to be another opportunity to try out the Via Verde box and probably get another fine. The roads were relatively empty despite it being the weekend but this was something that would lure us into a false sense of security. The soils put on a show. The mustard replaced by pinks, mauves , crimsons, nut brown, lemons and a whole artists pallet of colour. It all looked incredibly lovely and made prettier by the eucalyptus bushes that replaced the scrubby bushes at the side of the road. We entered the motorway without a ... read more
The lighthouse at the end of the world
Only America in that direction
Suzy at the end of the world

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Faro August 15th 2015

Faro, the Algarve’s administrative capital, is a city of some 65,000 located about 30 miles (50 km) west of the Spanish border. Besides the usual buildings, stores, hotels and artisan shops, it is a fishing port, a railway hub, and the site of the International Airport, the University of the Algarve, and three museums. It has been occupied at least since Roman times, with the Moors developing it as a port starting in the 8thcentury. Most of the artifacts from those periods were destroyed by the earthquake of 1755 or periodic raids by booty-seeking crusaders and sea-borne raiders. Nevertheless, today there is still much to see and do. The most interesting parts are those within the old 13th century walls beside the port, and the nearby pedestrian mall, which offers good shopping and restaurants. Within the ... read more
Faro was a fortified port even before Roman times.
The Arco da Vila, (1812) gateway to Cathedral Square and Old Faro is a National Monument.
Faro's austere 13th century fortress-cathedral, whose side chapels are baroque masterpieces.

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Sagres August 8th 2015

History is everywhere in Portugal. The casual tourist would never suspect that desolate, forbidding Cape St Vincent, Europe’s most south-westerly point of land, was the site of two of the most significant events in modern history. What happened there six centuries ago led to the discovery of the world as we know it today. Before then only the bravest of sailors dared to venture beyond the “Pillars of Hercules” (Strait of Gibraltar), and none was foolhardy enough to sail past the rugged cliffs which marked the end of the known world. All that changed in the 1400s: the world was opened up to discovery, exploration and settlement; and Portugal and other countries went on to acquire overseas empires and great wealth. All this was due mainly to the foresight and determination of one man – Portugal’s ... read more
Talk about rugged landscape !
It can get pretty rough and stormy there too !
Cape St. Vincent light can be seen for 40 km at sea.

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos August 5th 2015

My favorite place in the entire Algarve is Lagos, a small fishing port of about 32,000 near the western end of the province. It has been occupied over the centuries by Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines and Moors, whom the Portuguese expelled for good in 1241. Today it has a bit of everything – a sheltered marina, natural beauty, historical artifacts, good shopping, a leisurely lifestyle, and many sporting activities such as sailing, wind-surfing, fishing, para-sailing, scuba diving, ultra-light flights, and championship golf. Lagos has a long military and maritime history. In 1415 King Joāo I led an army to Morocco to capture Ceuta. Back in Lagos his son Prince Henry (“The Navigator”) established a navigation school at nearby Sagres, and when Henry’s naval architects designed the caravel, a fast, efficient ship, Lagos became a major ship-building ... read more
Lagos is in the western portion of the Algarve.
The entrance features a long seaside promenade
The renaissance-era fort at Ponta da Bandeira guarded the entrance to the harbour.

Europe » Portugal » Algarve August 3rd 2015

The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost province, occupies about one-fifth of the country’s area and has about half a million permanent inhabitants. Roughly 120 miles (200 km) of coastline boast an almost continuous string of golden sandy beaches, many sheltered by sandstone formations of varying shapes and colours. Its northern boundary is marked by hills, the tallest of which reaches 3000 ft (900m). Located on the tip of Europe with the Gulf Stream on the west, it is surprisingly warm in the winter. It’s where most vacationers head for warmth, relaxation and golf. It has been inhabited for thousands of years, with many invaders and rulers, notably the Romans, Moors and Spaniards. All have left their mark, such as forts, protective walls and the vestiges of villas and numerous battles. In 1755 many towns were badly damaged by ... read more
Map of the Algarve
Low hills separate the Algarve from the rest of Portugal.
one of dozens of secluded  beaches

Europe » Portugal » Algarve November 28th 2014

Portugal 2014 Our last trip of the year, 8 days in the Algarve. We stayed in Portimão, about an hours drive from Faro airport if you avoid the toll roads, we hired a car for a change as it simply worked out easier to do so (driving on the right was rather weird for the first few hours lol) We were very off season so alot of places were closed but it also meant that we had whole beaches to ourselves pretty much everyday and we got plenty of attention at bars/cafes and plenty of good deals and offers and even some free shots at bars who were without any customers during this period :) one of the best ones was the Irish Rover in Portimao, there were loads of Irish bars around but this was ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Algarve October 3rd 2014

This was the most fun-filled of all the Carnivals that I’ve had the opportunity to attend over the years, even moreso than those in Menton and Nice. And it was incredibly inexpensive: only two Euros, about $2.75 . Did you know that besides world famous “Carnival” or “Mardi Gras” celebrations … exuberant explosions of sensuality just before the somber holy season of Lent … other less extravagant festivals are also held in small towns around the world? Not the least of these is the one held in Loule (pronounced “low… lay”). . In fact, legend has it that the huge parades for which Rio is justly famous today originated as simple religious processions back in Portugal, which were transported to Brazil, Portugal’s former colony. The rest is history, as they say. Portugal’s largest modern Carnival has ... read more
At the parade's entrance, admission was only a couple of Euros.
It's a family-oriented event
Everyone catches the spirit

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos September 15th 2014

Lagos almost didn't get it's own entry because it doesn't warrant one... But hopefully the below will make you smile I caught the train from Lisbon to Lagos which took about 4 hours and my displeasure and frustration started as soon as I hopped off the train. I had emailed the hotel I was staying at and asked for directions from the train station to the hotel as I intended to walk (being such a cost conscious traveller and all). I was told to get off the train, walk over the footbridge and go straight ahead. There was no footbridge in site so I set off in the direction that was my best guess. People please now picture me lugging a 20kg suitcase across bumpy cobblestone for a km or so in 30 degree heat without ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos August 3rd 2014

So Mike & I’s solo adventure began. With a little trepidation (by me) we set off to start our southern Portugal adventure. We soon realised the winds are a lot lighter in the South, which would mean a lot more expensive motoring.. Luckily we weren’t in too much of a rush, so we could afford to go below our ideal 5-6knt pace if the winds were light. As always, it’s more expensive to get places in a hurry! We were looking forward to some hotter weather and warmer seas as up until now most Spanish & Portuguese people we had met said how unseasonably cool it was, especially the sea temperature. 27th July– Lisbon to Sines (57nm / 11hrs) So after waving Rich & Rach off to their 5 star hotel, Mike & I cast off ... read more
Sines by morning - sea mist!!!
The dolphins appeared to keep us company just as the mist went away
Flat calm seas - very eery

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos July 5th 2014

This is how I will blog this summer. Later, I'll do more detailed posts. But this is the best way for me to have experiences and share them with you. Day 1: Rome. Today I saw the Colosseum and pyramid. I hiked up to a great view of Rome. I saw the inside of an Irish pub (go Argentina!) and watched the USA lose in Venezia Piazza. I learned that restaurant owners who want pigeons to go away sprinkle chili flakes on the ground. Day 2: Rome. Today I walked forever. I saw the rest of Rome. I ate a lot of gelato (all of the gelato). I watched the sun set and I sat in a mostly-empty St. Peter's square until I got kicked out (who knew it closed?) Day 3: Rome. Today I went ... read more

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